• Why do I need community service hours?

    If you plan on attending college in the state of Florida and you are interested in receiving a scholarship, then you probably want to earn the Bright Futures award. Eligible students receive funds that go toward paying tuition, anywhere from 75 to 100 percent. All you have to do is perform community service, and maintain the required grade point average, and earn qualifying test scores.

    What do I do?

    To begin, you must identify a social problem and develop a plan for personal involvement in addressing that problem. Choose from one of these categories:

    • Provide leadership, guidance, and activities for the youth of the community
    • Promote animal welfare in the community
    • Improve the literacy of the community
    • Improve and enrich the lives of the homeless and/or those living in poverty
    • Promote the arts in the community
    • Preserve the environment and protect local historical sites
    • Promote the health, welfare, and safety of the community
    • Improve and enrich the lives of the mentally and/or physically disabled in the community
    • Promote the quality of life for the senior citizens of our community

    After you have an idea, you need to see Mrs. Durshimer for preapproval of your project. Prior to your appointment, you must fill out the verification form COMPLETELY, including getting signatures from your parent and the person who will be supervising your project. After you receive approval, you will begin completing your hours and keeping track of them on the time log/evaluation form. When you are done, you will need to get the same signatures and write an evaluation of what you learned. Then you will turn it in to Mrs. Durshimer for processing.

    IF YOU DO NOT FOLLOW THIS PROCESS, THERE IS NO GUARANTEE YOU WILL GET CREDIT FOR YOUR SERVICE.

    All paperwork, including hours, must be turned in at the end of every quarter, even if this is a continuing project.

    How do I know what counts for community service?

    Any work done with non-profit agencies, churches, high school service clubs, and government agencies most likely will count. Activities that will not count toward community service include court ordered community service, donations, paid work, activities that benefit a religious house of worship, school related extracurricular activities, fostering animals, babysitting, and job shadowing. Make sure you know the difference between what counts and what does not count.

    Here are some suggestions for local agencies that may allow you to work with them: Southeastern Guide Dogs, Manatee County Animal Services, Palmetto Historical Park/Ag Museum, Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, Nate’s Honor Rescue, Prospect Riding Center, SMART (Sarasota/Manatee Association for Riding Therapy), DeSoto National Memorial, Florida Railroad Museum, public libraries, Keep Manatee Beautiful, Teen Court, retirement homes, hospitals, Tidewell Hospice, and the Manatee Youth Commission. It is up to you to reach out to them to make sure you can earn hours before you get approval for your project. This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but it will help you get started!

    How many hours do I need for a Bright Futures Scholarship and how much money will I receive?

    It all depends on what scholarship level you are seeking. For more information, please visit the Bright Futures website at www.FloridaStudentFinancialAid.org

    When do I apply for Bright Futures?

    Seniors apply between October 1 and graduation day